For most, October 31st is a time for ghouls and ghosts, haunted houses, and scary movies. For dentists and dental patients, however, the months following are what’s truly scary. That’s because Halloween is the official start of the holiday season, which means sugar overload. From pumpkin pie to Christmas cookies, conditions become perfect for mouth bacteria to celebrate.
If you’re trying to scratch off emergency dental visit from your holiday expenses, this list is for you. Here are the five worst foods you should avoid.
Foods That Go “Crunch” In the Night
This includes hard candies, popcorn, nuts, and potato chips. Several holiday favorites, of course! Not only do foods like popcorn and nuts get stuck in the crevices of your teeth, if a tooth is already vulnerable due to an undetected cavity, this can lead to a crack. Worse, foods like popcorn, candy, and potato chips contain starch and sugar, bacteria’s favorite food.
The second on our list might be a surprising one. After all, ice has no sugar or starch. It’s just water! The problem is that, much like potato chips, chewing any hard substance can wear away your enamel and create vulnerabilities. Not only that, but the cold temperature can accentuate the brittleness in your enamel, leading to chipped or cracked teeth. Sometimes ice fragments can even cause gum injuries. If you’ve tried to quit but can’t, it’s possible this could be due to iron deficiencies within your blood.
This is a difficult one to limit, we know. But those buttery croissants and eggnog muffins will lead only to a world of trouble for your mouth. This is because while you chew bread your saliva breaks down the starches present, and converts those starches into sugar. That gummy paste left over gets stuck between teeth, where mouth bacteria will then convert into acid that wears away enamel and leads to cavities and periodontal disease.
So when you reach for that roll at thanksgiving dinner, grab the whole wheat instead. It’s not entirely better, but it has a higher percentage of fibers and complex carbohydrates, which don’t break down in the mouth as much.
They seem like a healthy snack, and the ones without added sugar can be. The issue with dried prunes, figs, raisins, or apricots, is a “sticky” one. When you bit down, and after you swallow, there is plenty left over between your teeth and gums. This residue keeps feeding oral bacteria long after you finished eating. If you can’t stay away from this snack, make sure you brush and rinse thoroughly afterward.
Soda is the “double-trouble” of badness for your mouth. Not only is it full of sugar, but even if you’re drinking diet soda, the carbonation makes it incredibly acidic, which wears away your enamel.
The best way to avoid an emergency trip to the dentist this holiday season is to schedule regular checkups and cleanings along side brushing and flossing twice a day. Establishing a relationship with your dentist will give you a better understanding of your oral health, and can lead to early detection of problems before they become costly repairs.